Lydia Rono '11 Awarded Babbitt Fellowship

Jill Chipman '14, Haley Riemer-Peltz '12, Jennifer Roberts '14 and Lydia Rono '11.
Jill Chipman '14, Haley Riemer-Peltz '12, Jennifer Roberts '14 and Lydia Rono '11.

Lydia Rono ’11 has been awarded the Samuel F. Babbitt Kirkland College Fellowship for graduate study. Rono will pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Princeton University in the fall. In addition, Haley Riemer-Peltz ’12, Jennifer Roberts ’14 and Jill Chipman '14 were recently selected by the Kirkland Endowment as 2011 Summer Associates. They will conduct research with faculty advisors and receive stipends for their work.


Riemer-Peltz will work with Margaret Bundy Scott Professor of Comparative Literature Nancy Rabinowitz on a project titled Écoutez-moi!: Cameroonian Women's Poetry as an Instrument of Social Expression and Liberation. Roberts’ project, More Than a Space: Discovering our Herstory, will be conducted with Associate Professor of Women’s Studies Anne Lacsamana. Jill Chipman '14, will be working with Professor of Chemistry Tim Elgren on the health effects on women of the use of BPAs.


Riemer-Peltz described her summer project as follows:  “The tradition of orality is a fundamental aspect of the culture and history of Cameroon. It was the primary means of communication, education and entertainment. The genre of oral poetry, specifically, was a form that allowed female expression in a culture that often suppressed it. Women sang poems about their lives and their roles in society. They cried they pains, their joys and their solidarity to one another. Due to the colonial regime, oral literature was transformed into its current written form. This created a significant change in Cameroonian culture.


“This essay will first explore the context and the form of oral poetry, focusing on gender differences that are reflected in the tradition. These main elements include subject material, poetic voice, and portrayal, specifically, those of the woman's expression. Then, I will examine how the characteristics of orality are manifest in the written poetry of today. I will obtain information from professors and students of poetry, along with published Cameroonian poets. Ultimately, through the social perspective of the Cameroonian woman, this project will discuss the value and enduring effects of an ancient tradition in a modernizing world.”

In describing her project Roberts explains, “The purpose of my project is to help in further institutionalizing the Womyn's Center and ensuring that the herstory of women from both Kirkland and Hamilton is not forgotten. I will do this by creating a Womyn's Center website that provides a vibrant, informative, interactive and comprehensive understanding of the Womyn's Center and its herstory from Kirkland through Hamilton. This website will include video interviews of the founding members of the Women's Center, as well as alumni members of both the Kirkland Women's Center and Hamilton's Womyn's Center.


"The website will also be used to post meeting minutes that are accessible to the general public, easy-to-access resources for those that are interested in learning more about topics ranging from STI's to Sexual Assault and Study Abroad programs, as well as internships and careers for those interested in social justice and women's issues.”


Chipman describes her project:  Bisphenol A or BPA is a hormone disrupter and has been known to cause birth defects as well as other health issues. This chemical is especially harmful to women who are in their childbearing years  and even more so to pregnant or nursing women. The goal of this project will be to analyze the various routes and amounts of BPA the average person, specifically a woman, consumes. This will be used to help make a statement regarding how women of childbearing age can reduce their intake of BPA and create a safer and healthier environment for their family.

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